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How I Shop: Aliyah Bah, AKA Aliyah's Interlude

We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what’s “you”? These are some of the questions we’re putting to prominent figures in our column “How I Shop.”

It’s impossible to be on the fashion side of the TikTok algorithm and not once have come across Aliyah Bah, better known as Aliyah’s Interlude. Her eccentric style — mini skirts, fur boots, garter belts, bikini tops, fishnets, earmuffs — is unmissable and unmistakable, so much so she’s dubbed her own aesthetic #Aliyahcore.

“My biggest inspirations are definitely Harajuku, streetwear, Black alternative culture and maximalism,” she tells Fashionista. “It’s so many things into one, it really gets serious. It’s so many different areas that it’s pulling from, it just makes it all into this one super cute and cunt genre.”

The way in which she experiments with fashion is not only refreshing, but inspiring — especially given how she has continuously broken down barriers for what it means to embrace Black identity through a fun, non-conforming lens through her platform. That’s not all she does, though: She’s also a pop star in the making, releasing a single called “Fashion Icon” on Feb. 21, which she says is a heart-filled project meant to “gag” all listeners. 

Aliyah spilled the tea on her earliest fashion memories, go-to thrift stores and fashion trends she’s loving right now. Read on for highlights from our conversation.

Photo: Hope Glassell/Courtesy of Aliyah Bah

“I’ve had a relationship with fashion ever since I was a kid. I’ve been thrifting since I was six years old, literally. I always tell people: When you thrift, you really have to make it work with the least [amount of] items. I would get big T-shirts and cut them into two-piece sets. I love Park Avenue, a Southern thrift store — if you’re from Georgia, you’re going to know. Goodwill also be having some finds, I will say, and Second Street Vintage.

“When I went to the Long Island Flea Market in Los Angeles, I was not hip to the flea market stuff. I was literally just in the world of my own. They had Hello Kitty baby tees — I got five of them. They were all mad cheap, too. I got a Hello Kitty lunchbox and it was so cute. I think that’s my most coveted thrift find, for sure.

“I generally don’t spend that much money, which sounds crazy and corny, but I’m a thrifter down. My AirPod Maxes were like $500, and they were really expensive to me. I travel so often, so I’ve used them so much, and I definitely think it was a good investment.

Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Photo: Jason Mendez/Getty Images

“I try to put Aliyahcore into whatever style I’m going for for the day. Even with this [Fall 2024] fashion week that just passed by, I got invited to a Sandy Liang party, and I did an Aaliyahcore outfit, but I added bows everywhere. I had the Kim Shui event and I did an Aliyahcore outfit — I know they work with fur and lots of textiles, so I added aspects of that to my outfit. For the most part, rain, sleet or snow, Aliyahcore is the way to go. 

“Honestly, most of the brands that I had gone to for New York Fashion Week dressed me — thank God. That was some real cute shit. Marc Jacobs was my favorite look. I felt like it was so me. It was a silver ‘fit, and they gave me some white Kiki boots to wear, which was fab. I love Kiki boots. That one just felt like a complete me outfit and I just loved it.

Aliyah at New York Fashion Week Fall 2024.

Photo: Udo Salters/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

“[My personal style] influences [my music] in every single way, shape and form. I always say this, but: My art is an extension of who I am as a person. It doesn’t matter if it’s fashion or music, it’s always going to be girly, fun, cute and alternative. If Aliyahcore had a soundtrack, ‘It Girl’ would be the soundtrack. I feel like me as a person — as Aliyah’s Interlude — is ‘Fashion Icon’.

“I most definitely plan [my outfits] out based off of the sound of the song, because I think I’m mostly a house girl. I love house music and I love making it, but there are some songs that I make that have a lot of rock and pop elements. If it’s a pop song, I like to do a girly fun look. If it’s a rock song, I’m going to go into my pop punk bag, my Avril Lavigne bag and go and find something that’s really cute and alternative.

Photos: Hope Glassell/Courtesy of Aliyah Bah

“My biggest style icons are Grace Jones, Avril Lavigne and Zendaya. I love her audacity and how she always takes a chance with stuff. And Lil’ Kim. Lil’ Kim is the OG.

“I usually wear a spike bracelet. I have two or three of them, and I usually wear them on the daily. That’s my favorite piece because it’s just so punk, but also so cute. And it always goes with my outfits. 

“Right now I’m loving the brand Poster Girl — Poster Girl down. And Blumarine down. I love the ‘mob wife’ stuff. Somebody on my team was just mentioning that, when I was wearing my coat, it was giving ‘mob wife,’ and I was like, ‘That’s tea.’ I really love the ‘mob wife aesthetic.’ The girls are really just eating it up.

“When I bought [my Kiki boots], I was like, ‘Yeah, I kind of made it.’ I genuinely love these boots. I’d been eyeing them since they first came out. So my ballet-pink Kiki boots are my most coveted, amazing purchase.

Photo: Randy Shropshire/Getty Images

“I have this one outfit where I’m wearing white and red, and it’s in front of these Campbell soups in Target. I feel like that was my first outfit where I was coming into Aliyahcore full throttle. I see my style becoming even more maximalist. I also see it becoming more evolved, in a way, to where it’s like I’m working with some of my favorite brands and making it into an Aliyahcore styling situation. I definitely just [see my style] being more evolved and more over-the-top.”

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